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alex lancashire qualification in counselling

An individual supported by Lifeways has overcome a substance addiction and is now training to become a counsellor to support other people.

Alex is 32, and lives in his flat at a Lifeways supported living service in Accrington, Lancashire.

At the age of 14, Alex sustained a brain injury from an altercation with a member of the public. 

“I had to start all over again learning to write, speak, eat and walk,” recalls Alex, who now moves about in a wheelchair.

Then, in 2017, Alex got into the wrong crowd, and turned to drugs.

‘This wasn’t the life for me anymore’

“I was on the verge of losing everything,” said Alex.

The next year, Alex moved into his own flat at the Lifeways supported living service in Accrington.

Although Alex was in a supportive environment, he continued to struggle – and had suicidal thoughts.

One day, everything changed for Alex.

“One of my support workers at Lifeways at the time spoke to me and made me see the bigger picture,” Alex recalls.

“I decided this wasn’t the life for me anymore and I have never looked back since that day.”

After making the decision to change his life, Alex gained confidence. He then decided to pursue a qualification that would enable him to support people – similar to how he’d received support.

Alex then enrolled in Blackburn College, and studied for a Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE) level two certificate in counselling skills.

Once he completed this certificate, Alex decided to go for the next step. He’s now in the process of gaining maths and English qualifications needed to pursue his counselling course further to gain a level three certificate.

After gaining a level three certificate, Alex will then be eligible to start a two-year level four diploma, which would mean he could work as a counsellor in an agency setting.

Getting started

Yet Alex doesn’t have to wait that long to start supporting others.

He’s recently completed peer-led training at Inspire in Accrington, a charity which helps people suffering with drug and alcohol addictions.

This training qualifies Alex to take part in a peer mentor course which means he can then actively support those who are in recovery, supported by the charity.

“If it wasn’t for all the support workers around me at Lifeways motivating me and keeping me in a positive mindset I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Alex. 

“Thank you Lifeways.”

On board

“Alex successfully participated and completed Inspire’s Peer Led training that included sessions on building positive family relationships, understanding stress and stress management, and behaviour in conflict,” says Mohammed Amad, an Inspire peer mentor and coordinator. 

“Alex has now qualified to join Inspire’s Peer Mentor programme.  The upcoming Peer Mentor programme is designed to give Alex the tools to support service users he will be working with.  Well done Alex - we look forward to having you on board.”

The support team where Alex lives is proud of what he’s accomplished – and that he’s thriving and fulfilling his goals.

“I’m delighted that Alex has thrived and is pursuing his dream of helping others,” says Katie Badger, Lifeways’ service manager in Accrington.

“Alex is always there to offer support, even to other individuals where he lives.”

Congratulations on your achievements, Alex – and thank you for sharing your story!

About Lifeways:

Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community.

Our 11,000 colleagues currently support almost 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,500 supported living and residential services across England, Scotland, and Wales. 

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